Yesterday I transferred some abandoned bees to a new home. I had noticed some abandoned hives near an equally abandoned house a while back. Last winter I saw a man working on the old place and stopped to chat. He said if there were any bees left I was welcome to them. Spring came and Lo! And behold, there were bees coming and going out of a rotten corner of one box. The boxes were all rotten, and the bottom boards collapsed, so I had to transfer them to a solid box before considering moving them. I went over yesterday, and letâ€™s just say it was a learning experience! I took the top cover off, and underneath was apiece of particle board in could-have-been-better condition. It was stuck fast. So I pried and ran a hacksaw blade under the edge to loosen it up, and pulled the top off. This was my first mistake, as you will see later. What I uncovered was comb running diagonally through the box and no sign of frames. I wasn't totally surprised, since the other stack of boxes on the stand had no frames in them, either. However, upon further inspection, down in the comb I saw an upended glass jar. Argh! Feeders! I looked... there were at least 2, probably 4. So moving frames to a new box was out of the question, the challenge was now to move the entire box (of questionable structural integrity) to on top of the good box. I lifted the box, and the item below it came up stuck to it: a queen excluder. Well, that had to go, so I cut it free. Went to lift the box and.... Oh no! The combs were apparently all attached to the top only, so when I lifted the box, I got ONLY the box, and the comb (and jars) stayed put on the excluder. Lesson #1: Evaluate the components of the entire stack BEFORE you start tearing things apart! So now I've got myself a mess. Sat and scratched my head for a while. Finally decided to tip the box on its side, holding the loose top on with my hand. I pried away the queen excluder, and then unceremoniously tipped/dropped the box back upright on top of the new box of frames. Thank goodness the old box didnâ€™t just burst apart at the seams from this abuse! This pretty much pissed off the bees, although they were still remarkably calm. Put new inner and outer covers on top of the old box. I just hope I haven't bungled the whole thing. The combs are unsupported now, dripping honey, and I have no idea where the queen was in all thisâ€¦ hope I did not crush her between combs. With luck, they will take refuge in the box below (10 frames of drawn comb) even though it is at 45 degrees to their preferred orientation. I left the old cover, with some honey comb still attached, next to the hive, so hopefully the poor displaced bees will find their way home. The other old boxes below the excluder had frames with old thin plastic (?) foundation and a big old mouse nest. I spread out the old frames and left the girls to sort out the mess I made for them. Hope I did okay. Opinions welcome! Is there anything I should have done differently? Any advice on how to separate the old and new boxes will be appreciated, since I'm sure they will attach the comb to the top of the frames. The property owner watched the whole thing, and was fascinated. I explained a bit about how the hive boxes worked, and he asked what bees were collecting this time of year since there are very few flowers, and how you get the honey out. He was quite impressed with the propolis work on the old queen excluder. Come to find out, when he was a kid, his Dad used to cut chunks out of bee trees and drain the honey in a pillowcase behind the stove. All in all, a great experience! Made a friend and hopefully helped some bees.